Yunei Stream Ancient Tree Grove to Full Moon Forest Park
Sanxia District, New Taipei City
Introduction: This hike starts near XiaoWulai Waterfall, climbs to the Yunei Stream Ancient Tree Grove (宇內神木群), where there are giant 2000 year old trees and is the most accessible place to still see ancient trees from Taipei, then makes the long hike to the Full Moon Forest Park (ManYueYuan 月圓國家森林遊樂區).
Access: take the tourist shuttle bus to XiaoWulai Waterfall leaving from Taoyuan Train Station at 8:30, weekends only. The ride takes about 90 minutes and costs $100. At Taoyuan Train Station go out the Yanping Rd. exit. The bus terminal is visible from the exit a block down the street.
The bus will stop at a viewpoint above the falls before finishing at a small parking lot at the top of the falls.
At XiaoWulai there is still a 6km road walk to reach the trailhead. You can try to hitchhike with other hikers, or the road walk takes about 75 minutes. There is a parking lot at the end of the road.
Return bus (no. 807) leaves from the Full Moon Forest Park at 6:10.
Trail Conditions: entirely on narrow dirt trails with some steep sections in the tree grove with short ropes and bridgeless stream crossings. From the tree grove to Full Moon Park on narrow or wide dirt trails with long flat sections, some steep drop-offs, some wooden steps. Wide dirt, stone, and paved trails in the Full Moon Park with some stone steps.
Difficulty Level: 3/5
Length: 14km, 6 hours (not including road walk from XiaoWulai), 950m total ascent, 1500m total descent, max altitude 1350m
Fork right at the junction just past the parking lot onto the closed off road.
The trailhead is a short walk uphill on the road and is clearly marked. It takes about 90 minutes to hike from the trailhead to the No. 1 tree.
From the trailhead the trail begins to climb moderately sleeply. Pay attention to and follow the hiking flags attached to trees. The trail turns right and crosses and small stream then climbs up the rocks above the stream.
This is followed by more moderate climbing through trees that are getting larger the further you go.
Turn right at a trail junction with wooden signs in Chinese only.
After the junction the trail becomes flatter, going along the hillside and sometimes dipping down to cross usually dry creeks.
The trail goes through a wide flat section getting closer to the tree grove and crosses another usually dry creek.
This is followed by the first bridgeless steam crossing. Use the rope here to help you cross on the slippery rocks.
After the crossing the trail passes the first of the ancient trees. There are also several other ancient trees around here down below along the stream.
Then the trail climbs up past another ancient tree using its roots and steps.
Fork right at a junction just after this tree, signposted in Chinese only for the Huwei Tree.
Five minutes downhill from the this junction the trail passes tree No. 1. with tree No. 2 just above it.
Turn right at a trail junction at tree No.1, signposted in Chinese only for the Devil’s Tree.
This trail descending back down the stream is narrower, steeper, and rougher. The trail passes the No. 3 tree and several unnumbered trees on the way down. Then it crosses the stream over a fallen ancient tree and climbs steeply up the other side, soon reaching the Devil’s Tree and several other unnumbered trees. From the Devil’s Tree return back to the No. 1 tree and turn right.
The trail passes several more ancient trees then comes to the Huwei Tree, the largest of the ancient trees. Turn left at the Huwei Tree.
From the tree, the trail goes along steep hillside high above the stream with safety ropes along the side.
Turn right at a junction when the trail reaches the stream again, crossing the stream over the rocks, and climbing up the other side.
The trail soon passes the Eight Fairy Tree and several unnumbered trees soon afterward. From the Eight Fairy Tree it takes about 3 hours of steady hiking to reach the bus stop at the Full Moon Park.
After passing the No. 10 and No. 15 trees the trail makes a very steep climb, crosses a small stream with the help of a rope and passes more un-numbered trees on the way up.
After the steep climb there is a 4-way trail junction at a wide clearing which is used as a camping spot for overnight hikers, turn left here signposted in Chinese for the Full Moon Park.
From the junction the trail follows above the stream for a short distance then makes a crossing. Fork right a trail junction after the crossing, climbing up past a tree.
The trail then reaches its highest point passing a last unnumbered ancient tree.
After the tree the trail makes another stream crossing and soon comes to another trail junction. Turn right here.
After the junction the trail descends through a narrow gulley.
After the gulley the rest of the hike is on easy trails allowing for a faster pace. There is a long flat section of trail through here going along the side the hill.
Keep going straight at a trail junction with wooden signs.
The flat trail continues to follow the hillside.
This trail ends at a junction with another trail that connects the East Eye and Full Moon Forest Parks. Turn right at the junction. There may be a sign tapped to a rock here that says the trail is closed, ignore it.
From the junction the trail descends steeply on wooden steps through the forest of Japanese cedars.
At the bottom of the long steps the trail makes a sharp left turn, becomes flat again and passes a rest area with benches.
After rest area the trail continues through the Japanese cedars, goes along the hillside, then begins to descend again, sometimes on wooden staircases.
Next, the trail comes to a stream crossing where the bridge has been washed away. Use the rope to help make the crossing.
After the crossing the trail becomes wider going along the hillside with a safety barrier.
More wooden steps lead downwards, then another sharp left turn at the bottom with a couple of benches.
This is followed by another mostly flat section along the hillside.
The trail also crosses several landslides through here.
More wooden steps lead further downwards getting close the Full Moon Park.
At the bottom of some more steps is a trail junction and a wooden bridge. This is the back end of the Full Moon Forest Park. You can either turn left here or keep going straight. The left turn is the Self Guiding Trail, a mostly stone trail along hillside that few visitors use. Or keep going straight and after passing the water tanks stone steps lead down to the end of the main trail through the park at the ManYueYuan Waterfall. There are also public restrooms here.
From the waterfall just follow the main trail through the park. The Full Moon Park is quite popular and it can be busy here on weekends. Although by the time you get here after the long hike most of the visitors will have left. The park closes at 5pm.
Along the way through the park you’ll pass the trail to Virgin Waterfall. This waterfall is one of the most spectacular in northern Taiwan. If you still have the time and energy it takes about 20 minutes up steep stone steps to reach the waterfall.
Further on the trail passes the visitor center which may be closed by the time you get here.
After the visitor center the trail turns into a wider trail with a paved siding leading out of the park.
The entrance gate to the park is locked at 5pm, but there is a rotating exit that you can still pass through. There are also public restrooms here.
At the end of the trail walk though the parking lot and follow the road downhill. The bus stop is a few hundred meters down the road at the bus parking lot.
The bus to Sanxia (no. 807) is supposed to leave here at 6:10, though whenever I have been here the bus has never come on time, being anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes late depending on traffic conditions on the narrow road up the gorge from Sanxia. I suggest you get the app Bus Tracker Taiwan on your phone before doing this hike so you can track the location of the bus in real time and how long until it gets to this stop, Manyueyuan Parking Lot. Note that if you do miss the bus you are pretty much screwed as there is nothing here that late but darkness and an empty parking lot.
Map of the Hike